Daphna Levy is a relationship expert who has spent years guiding others through coaching, workshops and seminars. This experience and her studies helped her write the book “Picking Right, The Single’s Guide to Finding the Right Match”. After reading and reviewing her guide, our curiosity was peaked, and she agreed to satisfy it by answering our questions. And boy, were we satisfied!
- If you could give only one piece of relationship advice, what would it be?
Treat your relationship like you would a garden: never stop cultivating it. You wouldn’t dream of leaving a garden at the mercy of the elements, would you? Yet so many couples leave their relationship at the mercy of life’s storms, hardships and routine. They take their “garden” for granted and expect it to bloom. Your Garden of Love must be nurtured or it will wither and die.
- After five, ten, twenty years of marriage, what are the ways that you have found to prevent the other person from taking you for granted?
There must be a basic agreement between the couple that both will work to preserve the relationship and that they will not take each other for granted. There is always a contest between couples; instead of competing on who gets more, they should compete on who gives more. And each should seek to help the other and give more than they receive.
- When couples have children, they say it changes the dynamics of their romantic relationship. What tips would you give to those couples who are expecting or planning on having children?
- Remember that your union is the foundation of your family. Not only did your love for each other bring your kids into the world, but when they leave the nest one day, the two of you will remain. So grant your bond that importance and don’t permit it to be diminished by your concern for the children.
- Realize that you have two separate hats: as a mate as well as a parent. Do not dump one hat for the other. Work out how to continue wearing your hat as a mate while being a good parent. It can be done!
- Do not permit your sexual life to deteriorate. Physical contact is a way of expressing your affection for each other and, as a means of communication, it increases affection. If hormonal changes interfere with your sexuality, seek nutritional help and try to get more rest. It is hard to feel sexual when the body is ill, tired or nutritionally deficient.
- Realize that both of you will go through changes and try to adapt: roll with the punches. The watchword is “HELP!” Always help one another. Don’t take it to heart if your stressed-out mate seems less than appreciative: continue to help! Sooner or later he or she will get out of their doldrums and be grateful for your kindness.
- What sorts of questions do you think you should ask your partner before committing to marriage?
In my book I call this “The Interview.” You definitely want to find out everything you can before you tie the knot. Don’t leave “holes” in key issues that impact your future together. You should ask questions such as:
- What are your goals regarding a family? Do you want children? How soon and how many?
- What are your views on fidelity?
- What are your career plans?
- What are your religious views or commitments?
- What is your stand (and behavior) regarding drug and alcohol use?
There are many more questions you could ask. But to do so effectively you need to know what you are looking for. Then you ask questions to ensure that your and your future spouse’s worlds harmonize.
- You have experienced a long and happy marriage. How and in what ways has the love changed over the years, if at all?
Our love deepened. It is no longer based on a brief acquaintance accompanied by great affection, but on years of genuine friendship. We have grown and developed together; we have been through misfortune and helped one another every step of the way. As we developed individually, we’ve also had to adapt ourselves so as to permit one another to achieve our individual goals within the relationship. (We never wanted to squash each other.) It’s been a journey throughout which we’ve been best friends. So I’d say, our relationship better now and our love stronger than it was thirty years ago.